Nittany Lions Roll Over South Florida, 6-1
TAMPA, Fla.; March 14, 2007 ¨C Behind strong singles play, the 36th-ranked Penn State men¡¯s tennis team won its third straight match on Friday against South Florida at the Varsity Tennis Courts in Tampa.
Penn State (11-2, 2-1 Big Ten) picked up the doubles point against the Bulls by taking two of the three matches. From there, the Nittany Lions were victorious in five of the six singles bouts against a talented South Florida squad. Penn State is now 9-1 in non-conference play this season.
¡°After winning a hard fought doubles point, we used that momentum and confidence in singles,¡± said head coach Todd Doebler. ¡°The guys did a great job playing outside in some wind to beat a good South Florida team. Michael and Adam really helped us by getting off the court quickly.¡±
In the No. 1 doubles match, senior Ryan Berger (Grand Rapids, Mich.) and junior Michael James (Clifton, Va.) dropped their first match as a team this season. Berger and James fought South Florida¡¯s Thomas Estrada and Mahmoud Hamed, but came up on the short end of an 8-6 decision. The Lion duo is now 2-1 on the season.
At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Adam Slagter (Austin, Texas) and freshman Ryan Gormley (Las Vegas, Nev.) picked up a tight 9-7 win over the Bulls¡¯ pair of Henning Hipp and Daniel Daudt. Slagter and Gormley move to 2-1 as a doubles team this year.
Junior James Dwyer (Peachtree City, Ga.) and senior Bradley Hunter (Atlanta, Ga.) sealed the doubles point for Penn State with an 8-4 victory over Ales Svigelj and Marc Jaeger of South Florida. Hunter and Dwyer also move to 2-1 with their win.
With Penn State up 1-0, the match turned to singles action. At the No. 1 singles spot, James, who is ranked 93rd in the country, wasted little time eliminating Svigelj. James snagged the first set by a score of 6-2. The Nittany Lion junior followed that up with a convincing 6-1 decision in the second. He is now 21-4 overall and 10-2 in duals this season. The win marked James¡¯ sixth straight.
Berger was a three-set winner at the No. 2 spot over South Florida¡¯s Jaeger (6-7, 6-1, 6-2). After dropping a tight first-set tiebreaker, Berger then cruised in the final two sets, allowing Jaeger just three of the final 15 games. With the win, Berger moves to 9-3 in duals during his senior season.
At No. 3, Slagter cruised to a straight-set win over Hipp. He built a 6-1 lead to take the first, before sealing the No. 3 point with a 6-2 win in the second. The sophomore is now 8-2 on the season at the No. 3 spot. He also holds a 14-6 overall mark in his second season as a Nittany Lion.
Hunter dropped the lone singles match for the Nittany Lions at the No. 4 spot. South Florida¡¯s Hamed handed the Nittany Lion senior a 6-3, 6-2 defeat. Hunter is now 10-5 on the year.
At the No. 5 singles slot, Gormley improved his rookie season dual-match record to 10-2 by defeating Estrada, 6-4, 7-6. At No. 6, Dwyer, who has now won five straight matches, defeated Diego Toledo of South Florida by a margin of 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Dwyer is 11-2 duals this season.
With the loss, South Florida falls to 6-8 on the season.
The Nittany Lions will return home on March 21 with a 3 p.m. match against Duquesne. Admission to Sarni Tennis Center is free.
Final Score: #36 Penn State 6, South Florida 1